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Kerry Hope Interview  Author: Chris Akers

Fights:14 Wins:12 Loss:1  Draws:0  N/C:1

imageIn its short span, Kerry Hope's professional career has already taken many twists and turns . After doing well at an amateur level, he turned professional in 2005 with Sports Network and was victorious in his first eleven contests. Yet after its initial ascension, Hope's career appeared to crumble somewhat after back to back losses. Yet as if inured by the pain he felt from the defeats, he decided to leave the confines of Enzo Calzaghe's gym and move West to relocate with John Tandy at Lake Arrowhead in California. This steeliness was demonstrated further when he won his opening bout with Tandy in his corner on a Golden Boy promotion earlier this year. Now he is back to winning ways, hopefully he will achieve the success his immense ability will warrant.

1. How did you first become involved in the sport?

I first become involved in boxing when I was 13. Boxing has always been in my family and it's been of great interest for me. I would've gone to the boxing gym a lot earlier but I was always shy and quiet. How times change hey haha. But I suppose being from Merthyr Tydfil, in Wales, a great fighting town with a good history of boxing, it's somehow born into you.

2. At the start of your professional career, you won your first eleven bouts, before losing against (ex Commonwealth champion) Matthew Hall and having a no contest ruling against Taz Jones. What in your mind were the reasons for those setbacks?

The loss to Matthew Hall was quite simple. I think complacency settled in a little. I'm a real down to earth guy, but after eleven straight wins in a pro career sometimes it can get the better of you. It's easier said than done, but you need to keep your feet firmly on the ground. My preparation was really bad for that fight, and although I always have the spirit to train hard, I didn't get the sparring I needed. I was still learning and maybe it came too soon for me as Matthew is a quality title level fighter. Taz on the other hand is a different question. It was probably good fortune in his corner the way it ended, with me getting cut so early. It would be nice to get the rematch one day if he ever wants it just to silence both him and his trainer.

3. You are now trained by American based British trainer John Tandy in his Lake Arrowhead facility in California. Yet until recently, you were trained by Enzo Calzaghe. Why did you leave Enzo and how did the link up with John come about?

I linked up with John through email. We spoke a few times and I explained to him things were going downhill and that I needed to make a move from the Calzaghe gym because my career was slowly slipping away. In the meantime his business partner Keith Allen called me to say there was an opportunity to come out to California and train with John and Talon Boxing. It didn't take long from there so here I am today being put through the gruelling regimes of Mr Tandy himself.

4. In what ways has John developed your overall ability?

I've worked with a lot of trainers in the past, Enzo Calzaghe being the most notable from picking up world trainer of the year a while back. But John is a young trainer with the knowledge well above these people and more notably he's got an understanding with his fighters not to push them over the top with the burnout effect.

Every training session is torture, but it'll always be different every time you step foot in the gym. I feel that that in the short space of time that I have been here John has helped me develop more physical power, my fitness has gone to another level and I've definitely got more of a mental edge, ready for when the time is needed to dig deep in a big fight. If there's someone who's going to make me the fighter I need to be to get on the big stage one day, it's definitely John Tandy and as reward, I hope it happens as a thank you to him for giving me this opportunity.

5. You made your American debut against Daniel Stanislavjevic, on a Golden Boy Promotion, with a win. How would you assess that performance?

I was due to fight in Madison Square Garden last November on the Jones/Calzaghe under-card, but it was scrapped at the last minute as my opponent weighed in 5lbs too heavy. So this time round was a dream come true to actually make my American debut. I've always wanted to fight here right from the first time I put gloves on let alone the event being a Goldenboy Promotions bill. I was only here two weeks before I was confirmed on the card. In that time I picked up what the doctors described as a mild form of pneumonia. Nothing antibiotics can't cure haha. But I felt great going into the fight mentally but physically, I suppose it did take away that little bit in my performance and I was far from ecstatic with my display. Danny didn't give me an inch throughout the fight and had me continuously on my toes. He made me work. But all in all a bad win is better than a good loss, and it's time to move forward to the next fight.

6. In the UK, the light middleweight scene is starting to produce some good fighters. Who would you say domestically are your main rivals?

The British boxing scene is quite hot at the moment. I'd say my two main rivals would be Jamie Moore or Anthony Small. Matthew Hall has to come into the equation because he drove me to my first defeat and it would be nice to get the rematch going with him in the future now that I'm working with John.

7. What would you like to achieve in the sport in the next twelve months?

The next twelve months for me will just be a case of winning and from there opportunities will unfold. I'm not going to make the same mistake I did after the success of my first eleven fights. I hope my career will take off in America and this is where I plan to stay.

8. If there is one thing you would change about the sport, what would it be?

If there was something I would like to change about the sport of boxing it would be the politics. There's far too much involved. Plus there's a lot of scrutiny with dishonest people in boxing. It's a real shame and I think it kills the sport. I've built a good relationship with John and I believe I've made a good friend as well as a trainer. He's someone I trust which takes the pressure away.

9. What is the toughest part of being a boxer?

The toughest part of being a boxer is the training but I enjoy it and as the saying goes ''train hard fight easy''. Sometimes it's a bit of a nightmare when you have to diet and can't eat the luxuries in life you like haha. I now know how it feels. These sacrifices make having your hand raised at the final bell worthwhile.

10. Finally, do you have a message for your fans?

A quick message to all of my fans would be a simple thank you for the support they have shown me in my fights. They've travelled all over the UK and even travelled to New York to support me. I hope someday I can give them something back by securing a title. Knowing that I have their support gives me that extra incentive. Thanks all.